The Balance Series
The Balance series is a collection of novels, each told in two parts. The beginning of each chapter in a novel is told from the title character’s perspective. The rest of the chapter tells the story in a third person narrative. The focus of the series is on the choices we face after death and why there must always be a Balance, blending the Western mindset of individuality with the Eastern concepts of Zen and the infinite nature of the universe, in what can best be described as a supernatural buddy cop comedy.
Excerpt from Grey:
“No, you’re right. This ain’t it by a long shot. Let’s talk simple science, for example an atom is a complete and balanced structure.” Grey picked up the red, yellow, and white condiment squeeze bottles. He squirted a large dollop of mayonnaise onto the center of his empty plate. Then he added a few tiny yellow dots of mustard around the edges of the mayo glob. “That atom stays complete through a proper balance of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons carry a positive charge and electrons a negative one, but the whole thing would break apart if the neutrons didn’t hold it all together. The universe keeps to certain patterns, you follow?” He punctuated this by squeezing a hefty blob of ketchup into the middle of the mayonnaise.
Pete pointed at Grey’s sauce laden plate, “You’re telling me you’re the ketchup.”
“Yes, in an overly simplified example. Myself, and the others I work with would be the neutrons on this level of existence. What I do is more complicated than that, so call this the preview. A small taste of what it means to work for the Balance.” Grey said, and spun the plate lightly causing the condiments to blend. He gestured to the colored globs that had run together into a chaotic mass. “If somebody doesn’t keep the Balance this is what would happen to everything.”
Excerpt from Raven:
“Check this out, Grey!” The Kid said excitedly, as he jumped out from the concealing shadows of the alleyway in downtown Santa Fe. Grey leaned back against the cool concrete wall, crossing his arms around his lean chest. He arched an eyebrow in The Kid’s direction, but said nothing when his old acquaintance slapped a passing businesswoman on her expensive pant suit clad behind. The woman gasped and turned around quickly, slapping the face of the innocent man whose only crime was following too close to her.
The Kid brayed out a donkey like laugh, capering about in a little jig of delight upon witnessing the woman’s reaction. Grey was the only one nearby who could see it, but that did not seem to lessen the pleasure The Kid derived from the act. He had curled up into a ball on the ground, laughing so hard he was crying. Finally slapping his leg, wiping away at his eyes, and attempting to catch a breath, that after more than a century of death The Kid’s mental conditioning still told him he needed, he said, “God damn, Grey, but that don’t get old no matter how many times I do it. Now, where was we?”
“Malign,” Grey said, dislodging himself from his leaning perch. He moved toward the deeper shadows in which The Kid had retreated, in an attempt to regain some of the strength that venturing into the daylight to pull his little prank had cost him. Staring down at the demon Grey continued, “You were saying she was up to something here, in the States. What?”
“Shit, Grey! I don’t know for sure, and I shouldn’t really be telling you nothing neither, but we was friends once and that still means something to me.” The Kid said drawing himself up to his full height, placing his bowler covered head level with the nearest dumpster rim. He placed a dusky shadowed hand over the place where his heart once beat, in an attempt to emphasize his sincerity.
“Yeah Kid, we were friends once, but you and I know that ain’t the reason you’re playing snitch. You’re scared of her and you don’t much like her messing around in your backyard.” Grey finished, glaring down his slightly aquiline nose at The Kid.
“You’re Goddamned right I’m scared of that bitch!” The Kid blurted out, “Jesus man, only you and maybe that old Middle Eastern angel you hang with sometimes would have a shot at taking her on. The rest of us either hide like fucking prairie dogs until she passes, or lick her boots to stay in favor. So no, I don’t like her hanging around my backyard.”
“Fair enough, Kid. Fair enough,” Grey agreed, then motioned with his open hand in a cough it up gesture, “So what do you know, what can you tell me?”
The demon, who had once been a man named Billy Bonnie (among a slew of aliases) grinned. His pale and dusky skin, took on a sickly pallor when his dimly lit eyes started to sparkle. He said, “I know plenty, but I can tell you only some without risking my ass. She’s up to her manipulative games like always, twisting this person this way and that person that way. I swear the bitch can be in ten different places at once.” As if the thought his own words had elicited would make her appear The Kid looked around, much in a passable imitation of his previously mentioned prairie dog. He leaned in toward Grey, getting as close as he could to whisper one word, before vanishing into the shadows.
Grey walked out into the day with concern on his features and troubles bubbling around in his mind. He had trod this earth for a good long time, having died before The Kid had in the same fiasco once upon a time in New Mexico. He had dealt with Malign many times before, stopping her and her pets in World War II, but most often she stayed to the less civilized parts of the globe. It was easiest for her to cause unrest in populaces that were not as well cared for and educated. It did not make sense to him why she would start messing around here, now, but then the thought patterns of any demon were beyond Grey’s ken. He strode down the hard sun baked sidewalk for the simple pleasure of the motion. It allowed him a sense of identity or at least a feeling of humanity regained to move about, he felt he did his best contemplating while in motion. Turning his thoughts over Grey said to himself, “What the hell did The Kid mean by, ‘vampires’?”